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JOMO Week: 3 rules to cut screen time

Breaking habits starts with changing behavior and experts say that includes reducing the hours glued to phones, tablets, and computers.

If wake up to the alarm on your phone and it’s the first thing you look at when you roll out of bed, you are setting yourself up to stay locked on that screen for longer than you may want.

JOMO Week: What is the 'Joy of Missing Out?'

“So even getting it to the point where it’s not the thing you reach for in the morning, can start you in a very intentional way not being beholden to it,” said Dr. Kristina Coop Gordon, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Tennessee.

“I think when someone is talking to you, I hear this with couples a lot, if they are trying to talk and then someone is scrolling through the phone thinking that they can listen and do this at the same time, having a rule that you don’t do that,” and that’s “Rule #2” falling right after stashing your phone outside the bedroom said Dr. Gordon.  “Rule #3” is don’t bring the phone to the dinner table either.

“If we’re not very intentional and mindful about how we’re using it, (the smartphone) is designed to suck you in,” said the couples therapist who says there are consequences if we allow ourselves to stay glued to our screens for hours upon hours every day.

JOMO Week: Families disconnect from phones to reconnect in the Smokies 

“What we’re seeing right now is it’s really messing up our attention span, back-and-forth, back-and-forth and we really aren’t as effective or efficient as we think we are,” explained Dr. Gordon.

All this week 10News is looking at the benefits tied to “JOMO,” The Joy of Missing Out.  Each night at 11 p.m. we’ll look into different ideas about the reason to break free of your screens.  It’s a concept Dr. Gordon endorses because the future looks like it will be filled with even more screens, techno-leaps, and distractions that pull us away from some of the moments that may matter most in our lives.

“It’s wild, wild, west right now and again the good, the bad, and the ugly and we’re not going to get rid of it, so we need to be more intentional about it,” said Dr. Gordon.

There are apps and other online tools that can help connect couples and families by encouraging conversation.  Dr. Gordon recommends the free resources at The Gottman Institute